How many of you can really say you love what you do?
I’m not talking about toleration.
I’m talking about the kind of love that puts a big grin on your face when you first wake up. The kind of love that makes you whistle while you’re out on the job – breaking out into a full-bodied chorus of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!” and not caring if anyone else gives you strange looks.
Maybe you’re thinking that you definitely don’t have that type of job – a job where you can really find joy in it. Between 8 am and 5 pm, you might be holding your breath and counting down the hours until you get back into your car and begin the traffic-filled commute home.
Wait a minute … are some of us really celebrating the ride home instead of enjoying those eight hours a day that we work?
Something just seems wrong with that. If we want to live a purpose-filled life, we should be pouring ourselves into making our jobs more than just montonous activity. We need to look at our jobs as acts of service instead of labeling ourselves as just another person in the service industry.
When I was younger, I used to think it would be awesome to work in a bakery. I loved the idea of being there first thing in the morning, the smell of freshly baked French bread filling my nostrils, whiffs of nutty macaroons slipping out the front door to catch the attention of passerby.
While there are many jobs within a bakery, I thought that being the person who actually makes the bread, tarts and pastries would be the most rewarding position. I didn’t really consider that the pastry chef needs a crew of people behind him to keep the well-oiled bakery machine going.
When I told my dad about my bakery job dreams, he told me (kindly) that the likelihood of me being hired as a pastry chef, without any prior experience, might be a tad difficult. Maybe a dish-washing job would be a good first step.
‘Ugh … bummer,’ I thought. I just wanted to bring people sugar-dusted happiness – how could I do that by being a dishwasher?!
That night my dad asked me to help him clean the dishes after dinner. We stood at the sink, arms covered in soap suds and talked about how tender the pot roast had been, laughing as we thought about the seconds and thirds we had helped ourselves to. When I was drying the last plate, my dad placed his hand on my head and gave it a gentle rub. I looked up at his 6-foot 6-inch tall frame and smiled.
That night, I noticed how much I enjoyed this simple act of cleaning the dishes. I hadn’t been the one to make the meal. I hadn’t even been the one to buy the ingredients. I was just the daughter who washed the pots and pans. But washing the dishes had been fun. In fact, it was something I could look forward to doing each night. I don’t think I would have ever considered the task to be glamorous, but when I allowed the Joy to fully enter my heart, I realized that being the helpful “dishwasher girl” was actually meaningful and, dare I say it, wonderful.
There is never a job that is too small. It’s only when we demean ourselves that our purpose becomes belittled.
Find the Joy in your job. I might not even know what your job is and I can tell you that Joy is there. Make it an act of service. Bring purpose back into the picture.